US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Burma, becoming the first senior US official in more than 50 years to visit the country.
During the landmark visit, Mrs Clinton is scheduled to hold a meeting lasting several hours with Burma's president Thein Sein. She is also due to fly to Rangoon for her first meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel-prize winning democracy movement leader she has described as "an inspiration".
Speaking to reporters before her arrival, Clinton said,
"I am obviously looking to determine ... what is the intention of the current government with respect to continuing reforms.
We and many other nations are quite hopeful that these flickers of progress ... will be ignited into a movement for change that will benefit the people of the country."
The Kachin Independence Organisation, one of the largest armed ethnic opposition groups in Burma, welcomed the Secretary of State’s visit commenting,
"US can make Burma change towards democracy. The conflict has become serious and the need to solve it is urgent."
Some minorities have expressed fears that the visit could be exploited as legitimising the government, which was slowly began implementing reforms.
Alan Saw U, a community organiser from the Karen ethnic group in Rangoon, said he hoped Clinton would "focus on democratisation. We don't want her visit to be ... abused by the ruling authorities."
The pass-system, which requires Tamil fisher folk to obtain permission from the military before setting out to sea, has now been re-introduced in Mannar, after being restarted in Jaffna earlier this month, reported Uthayan.